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Usability in Web Design
A first visit to a new website is like a trip to a city you have never been to: the locals can easily find their way around, while you rely on road signs to get by.
And despite all the beautiful sights and buildings around – getting lost in new surroundings wasn’t on your wish list (especially if you went there for a reason).
It’s a similar story with a website: you go there for a reason, and you want to find a solution the sooner the better, but awkward navigation and tons on irrelevant content increase the amount of time you spend on it. But if you knew a website’s structure beforehand, it would have taken only a minute to reach the necessary content.
Which makes Usability a primary concern of a web designer.
How to see your website from a visitor’s point of view?
Everyone had probably encountered a problem with looking up certain information or purchasing something online, when it just took too much time. Did you think “If only this site could be a bit easier to understand?”
Even if you are a newbie in web design, eventually you will understand that first comes usability, and then aesthetics – not vice versa.
More experienced web designers will tell you that beauty is a very subjective matter, since people have different tastes. Even if a website is beautifully designed, it will be hard to appreciate after wondering around for half an hour, while trying to find what they are looking for.
As a designer, you have to plan the website’s structure to be as simple and easy-to-use as possible.
“Easier said than done” – you say, because the Usability is also subjective. What is simple to understandable for the designer, may be complex and illogical for a prospective visitor.
Let’s see what really effects the perception of a webpage by users and how to correctly combine usability AND design:
It is well known that speed matters. We live in the age of innovative technologies, where it takes less that a second to open Google and type in your search request. So if users experience difficulties with your page, they will leave to another, much quicker and a less bugged website. You have just 7 to 5 seconds to hold them and their attention.
2.Design matches theme
As it was mentioned before, you have only a few seconds to introduce and explain what your website is about, what services you provide or what products you are selling. Nothing is as effective, as a clear and memorable logo, thought out fonts, background and a relevant style.
3.Visual content support
Printed products such as newspapers and magazines have columns, sections and other visual elements to separate pieces of content and make it more readable. While web and printed products differ, they share the same idea – to reach their customers in the easiest, most convenient way.
This does not mean that we have to deliver information as a newspaper, but we should give visitors hints to where information can be found. By paying attention to sections, headers, and fonts, we guarantee ourselves the time they spend on the page.
Not long ago we had to choose between surfing the net and calling our friends via the landline, but now we choose among smartphones, tablets and laptops working on wireless connection or 4G – keeping us online 24/7. This is why web designers have to constantly be adaptive and responsive. If the website is adapted for mobile devices, it will receive twice as much visits.
We already know that it’s vital to give visitors what they need in a short period of time – the faster the better: remember the three-click rule. Make sure that visitors find what they need in less than three clicks. Work on the menu, how the items are organized, the amount of filters etc.
Web design and usability come hand in hand. You have to combine the two to receive the desired amount of visits and sales volume.
Experiment with your design, try various layouts and content arrangements, then test and improve your website – your success depends on it!
Posted on October 10, 2016
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